Deflated Bernie Sanders supporters are crying foul after shocking internal emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee exposed hostility toward the Vermont U.S. senator’s presidential campaign and cast a dark cloud over the party’s national convention as fed up delegates make their way to Philadelphia.
“The party picks who they want. They stack the deck, and they do everything they can to make sure who wins the primary is their candidate of choice,” said Arnie Arnesen, a liberal progressive Democrat and talk radio host in New Hampshire.
“The Democratic Party has done this forever,” told Arnesen. “The only reason why people know is Bernie shocked the bejesus out of the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton because a relatively less-known progressive liberal grabbed the voice and the heart and minds of people across the country, and they could not figure it out — because that’s not what they envisioned, it’s not what they wanted, and it’s not what they could control.”
Bay State Sanders delegate Crystal Moore said leaked emails that appear to show party leaders’ disdain for Sanders were “disappointing.”
“It deflates, it makes you feel like the work you put in was somewhat for nothing — knowing the process was not set up for Senator Sanders to be successful,” she said. “The Democratic Party is supposed to be fair and neutral in how they govern the primary.”
Dorothy Albrecht, an alternate delegate for Sanders, said she suspects the party had dubbed Clinton “the establishment nominee” eight years ago.
The cache of more than 19,000 emails details the acrimonious split between the DNC and Sanders, showing party officials scoffing at Sanders and his supporters and in one instance, questioning his commitment to his Jewish religion.
Sanders’ campaign manager Jeff Weaver said the emails show “what many of us have known for some time, that there were certainly people at the DNC who were actively helping the Clinton effort and trying to hurt Bernie Sanders’ campaign.”
Weaver said the emails showed that the DNC’s “senior staffers” attacked Sanders about his religion and had roles in “planting negative stories about him with religious leaders in various states.”
Weaver also said the emails may make it harder to promote party unity as Sanders’ supporters prepare to mix with Clinton’s majority at the Philadelphia convention, which begins tomorrow.
Although Sanders endorsed Clinton and appeared with her earlier this month in Vermont, there are still concerns that some of his embittered supporters might opt to sit out the election this fall.
The DNC’s charter requires the chairperson and their staff to “exercise impartiality and evenhandedness” with the campaigns.
Emails sent in May between DNC spokesman Luis Miranda and his deputy, Mark Paustenbach, show Paustenbach questioning whether the party should use the voter record furor to raise doubts about the Sanders campaign.
“Wondering if there’s a good Bernie narrative for a story, which is that Bernie never had his act together,” Paustenbach wrote, “that his campaign was a mess.”
The same month, in another email to DNC officials, another official said of Sanders: “Does he believe in a God. He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps.”
One DNC email noted that former Massachusetts Democratic spokesman Kevin Franck was writing a column for The Boston Herald on Donald Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns.